A big chunk of Manchester United’s summer transfer budget might be spent on Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, as latest manager Erik ten Hag looks to make his first signing of the summer. If United do complete the transfer of De Jong for £69million, they are going to reportedly only have between £31million and £81million left to spend before sales.
Last month ESPN reported that ten Hag can have a budget of between £100million and £150million before revenue from player sales are accounted for, and a big portion of that budget might be spent on De Jong, who ten Hag knows well from their time at Ajax together.
United are reportedly prepared to pay as much as £69million for De Jong, as Barcelona look to lift funds themselves of their pursuit of Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich.
The Dutch midfielder could replace Paul Pogba, who will leave the club upon the expiry of his contract together with several other United midfielders.
The club have announced that Pogba will leave Old Trafford together with Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata, however the trio is not going to herald fees so as to add to 10 Hag’s summer budget, other than the wage bill being trimmed as all three are leaving on a free transfer.
Despite De Jong’s open admission of wanting to remain at Barcelona, United appear undeterred of their pursuit of the 25-year-old. “I actually have enough confidence in myself [to be a success at Barcelona]. I’m not afraid,” De Jong said on international duty. “I recently spoke extensively with the trainer [Xavi]. That was a superb conversation.
“I is not going to go into that [the links to United]. Not even about other names or clubs. I was once naive and open-minded about it. I don’t try this anymore. I understand that that link is made.
“That sum will not be that difficult, it’s logical. I actually have enjoyed working with Ten Hag at Ajax – and I can’t look into the longer term, after all. But I prefer to remain at Barcelona.”
If the Manchester club are on the lower end of their reported transfer budget after signing De Jong, it could hamper their bid for Benfica striker Darwin Nunez. The Uruguayan is reportedly “intrigued” by the concept of moving to Old Trafford, and international team-mate Edinson Cavani has been stuffed with praise for the 22-year-old. His club are set to demand in excess of £67million with Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain also said to be considering the forward that scored 26 goals in 28 Primeira Liga appearances and notched six times within the Champions League as Benfica reached the quarter-finals before being knocked out by Liverpool.